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Sherri Richards, Published October 14 2013

Tuesday Tip: Cleaning a microwave

FARGO – The splattered food residue had gotten a little out of control in my microwave. Let’s just say you wouldn’t have been able to discern what color the appliance was looking inside it.

So I tried a trick I’d read for easily cleaning the inside of a microwave without chemicals or needing to scrub my fingers to the bone.

I filled a coffee mug with water, and added a couple splashes of white vinegar and a drop of lavender essential oil. Then I microwaved the mug for a couple minutes.

The steam produced from the heated water softens the grime, the vinegar deodorizes and the essential oil improves the smell.

I let the mug sit awhile before opening the microwave. I then dipped a rag in the hot water – carefully, of course – and used that to wipe off the grime. I gave stubborn spots a second dose of steam by reheating the water.

In the end, all the grime came off easily, and my microwave was once again white inside and out.

You’ll find Internet warnings about superheated water exploding in a microwave. While this is plausible, it’s not common. To avoid, simply limit the microwaving time. Adding a foreign substance to the water also reduces the risk, according to the Food and Drug Administration.